Losing a loved one is never easy. And unfortunately, issues in distributing their estate can add stress to the heartache. In some cases, disputes or discrepancies resolve through civil discussions outside of a courtroom. In others, someone may have a cause of action that calls for probate litigation.
Today, we outline some of the most common reasons a probate lawsuit might be appropriate:
The estate’s trustee misappropriated assets
The trustee of someone’s estate has several essential duties. In large part, it is their job to ensure the deceased person’s assets are distributed according to their final wishes. However, sometimes, a trustee takes advantage of their position. If a trustee suddenly purchases expensive items or seems to have come into a large amount of money, a family might rightfully become suspicious.
Changes to a will or trust made under suspicious circumstances
Unscrupulous individuals will sometimes take advantage of the elderly or incapacitated for their own gain. If someone made changes to their will or trust while they were still alive, and family members believe undue influence or forgery played a role, litigation may be the right path. The lawsuit can invalidate fraudulent changes to the will or trust.
Someone tries to suppress estate planning documents
For whatever reason, interested parties will sometimes try to hide estate planning documents that do not reflect what they want to see happen. If you suspect a family member, trustee or executor holds such documents, you can file a petition with the court to make them appear and answer interrogatories.
Probate litigation is often messy. But, in some cases it is the right thing to do. To learn if a probate lawsuit is the right choice for your situation, consult with an experienced California probate attorney.